Bird of the week

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - By Gra­ham Ap­ple­ton

Though our coal tits are seden­tary in na­ture, they will move around lo­cally in search of food, with vary­ing num­bers turn­ing up at gar­den feed­ers. Re­search by the Bri­tish Trust for Or­nithol­ogy has shown that there is a cor­re­la­tion be­tween the amount of beech­mast pro­duced by beech trees and ob­ser­va­tions in gar­dens, with far more coal tits mak­ing use of sup­ple­men­tary foods in years with less seed.

Coal tits are hoard­ers, like jays and nuthatches, and you may see them fly­ing back and forth be­tween a feeder and a favourite hid­ing place. If sun­flow­ers start grow­ing in your hanging bas­kets or among your pa­tio plants you will know who to blame. Coal tits are much smaller than blue tits and seem more sus­cep­ti­ble to pe­ri­ods of cold weather, with num­bers drop­ping dur­ing the spring of 2013, for in­stance, when win­ter lasted longer than is now usual. (top) (bot­tom)

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